Enacy Mapakame in VICTORIA FALLS
President Mnangagwa has called for an agricultural model that mitigates climate change and implored young innovators and researchers to come up with solutions to boost output.
While fielding questions from delegates at the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) annual congress here yesterday, the President said climate change was posing challenges to agriculture, especially the Command Agriculture initiative.
“Command Agriculture is facing challenges especially with regards to climate change,” said President Mnangagwa.
“We must come up with an agriculture model that mitigates against climate change. One way is to create as many water bodies as possible and then have irrigation to the extent that we have enough hectarage in the country under irrigation even if there is no rain, but drought.
“If we irrigate those hectares which will produce for this country in excess of two million (tonnes of maize), then it will be enough to feed the nation as well as strategic reserves and where possible, surplus.
“That is fighting against climate change.”
He said beyond that, young people should conduct research so that the nation develops crops that thrive even during harsh weather condition.
Agriculture faces some of the harshest threats from climate change and global warming.
Experts estimate that farm output in sub-Saharan Africa will decline by up to 50 percent by mid-century due to changing climates.
Extreme weather patterns such as floods are expected to become frequent and more severe, together with drought.
Experts say for economies such as Zimbabwe which rely heavily on agriculture, the effects might be dire.
The impact of climate change is already evident, with drought that characterised the 2018/2019 summer cropping season — the second in four years — decimating maize harvests.
The country now expects just over 700 000 tonnes, about a third of national annual requirements.
President Mnangagwa called on businesses and young innovators to come up with ideas and solutions to mitigate the challenges posed by natural or man-made weather phenomena.
He also spoke about boosting irrigation, as a major adaptation measure.